Moscow was claiming as her own, the Eastern Provinces of Poland as
far as the * Ribbentrop-Molotov Line.' Lord Curzon, the former
Minister of Foreign Affairs in England had been in office in 1923 and, at
his instigation. Great Britain and the other Allies had recognised the
Polish-Russian frontier traced along the lines of the Treaty of Riga.
The Polish Government replied to the Soviet statement on March 4 :
cc Until the conclusion of agreements between the U.S.S.R. and the
Third Reich concerning the partition of Polish territories, the Treaty of
Riga and its frontier clauses, approved in 1923 by the Conference of
Ambassadors and by the United States, were never called in question by
Russia. The Russo-German agreements were cancelled by the Polish-
Soviet agreement of July 30, 1941. The question of any return to the
German-Soviet line of that year requires no further comment.
cc The so-called c Curzon Line * was proposed during hostilities in
1919-1920 solely as an armistice line and not as a frontier.
cc The polling ordered by the Soviet-occupying authorities in Eastern
Poland in 1939 is contrary to international law. It constitutes one of those
unilateral acts which are not recognised by the Allied nations. Therefore,
it cannot form a basis for any legal acts, and cannot, in particular, deprive
Polish citizens of their title to Polish citizenship or to relief organised for
their benefit by the Polish Government with the aid of the Governments
of Great Britain and the United States.
"All German proposals previous to 1939, which were aimed at gaining
the co-operation of Poland in military actions against Russia, were repeatedly
rejected, and this led finally to a German attack on Polish territory in
cc The Declaration of the Polish Government of February 25, 1943,
backed unanimously by the entire Polish nation, was not intended to produce
controversy which would be so harmful at the present moment. It only
stated the indisputable Polish rights to these territories3 in which the Polish
nation will continue to live in harmony with its Ukrainian and White
Ruthenian fellow-countrymen in accordance with the principles proclaimed
by the Polish Government. The Polish Government, categorically rejecting
the absurd insinuations concerning alleged Polish imperialistic claims in
the East, has expressed, and continues to express, to the Soviet Government
its readiness for an understanding based on friendly mutual relations."
The Soviet Notes bluntly discussing the question that half Poland now
* legally * belonged to Russia, were to increase the bitterness of the Poles
against their Government, who was now to become the target for heavy
attacks levelled by the Opposition. On February 17, Sikorski still claimed
that the most important factor was to maintain the * Unity of the Allied
Nations,' but at the beginning of March the published Notes showed
that this * Unity * between Poland and Russia in fact no longer existed.
The Polish-Soviet dispute had now finally come into the open. There
was a great deal of anxiety among the Poles that, under British pressure,
their Government might give in and go too far in its concessions towards
Soviet demands. General Sosnkowski, the Successor-Designate to the
Presidency of the Polish Republic, expressed the opinion of the Opposition
in a letter published by the Press. He stated that he was " a partisan of